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Water Quality and Quantity Issues, News and Updates

Water, water everywhere --- and not a drop to drink...”

(from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Water – Quality & Quantity – A Very Hot Topic

Updated January 2011

Demand for water is projected to outstrip supply by a staggering 40 percent by 2030, and an estimated half the world’s population are likely to live in areas of high water stress by the same year”  -- so states  Paul Dickinson, Executive Chairman of the Carbon Disclosure Project in the CDP Water Disclosure 2010  Global Report.   The situation is getting worse rather than getting better. The pressures of over-population, climate change and increased use per capita are all causing water stresses, although unevenly, throughout the globe. 

Current impacted areas in the news include the Southwestern and Southeastern regions of the United States; China; India; Ireland; the Middle East region; Australia; and many countries in Africa.  The threat has been recognized and throughout the globe and governments, corporations and activists groups are bringing the problem to the forefront and helping to craft and influence both short and long term solutions.

Since this section was first created in 1998, the editors have screened tens of thousands of articles and posted almost 1,000 stories, commentaries and reports. Water – quality and quantity is continuing to be a Hot Topic for AC readers.  As many pundits are saying…water is becoming the new carbon.

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In 2006 the United Nations World Water Development Report described the state of water on our planet as a “crisis of governance.”  While the world appears to have enough fresh water supply today, the issue is one of governance, as in water distribution, management and quality control practices.  Water quality appears to be degrading in many areas, our monitoring tells us, and water quantity (supply) is a huge issue in many of the world’s regions.

Due to a number of factors -- mismanagement, limited area resources, and environmental changes, some caused by climate change -- almost one-fifth of the planet’s population still lacks access to safe drinking water and 40 per cent of the world’s population lacks access to basic sanitation. Access to water is further restricted by national and governmental entities that regulate where the water flows, who has access and for what purpose the water is used.  

Water is also used as an economic, health and environmental weapon by the “haves” over the “have-nots.” Governments “determine who gets what water, when and how, and decide who has the right to water and related services,” said the report authors.  Water availability is also related to a range of issues intimately connected to water, from health and food security to economic development, land use, and the preservation of the natural ecosystems on which the water resources depend.

Water quality is declining in most regions of the Earth.  Regional over- population, increased industrialization, absence of proper waste water treatment -- are all contributing to the emerging crisis. Poor water quality is a key cause of poor livelihood and health. An estimated 1.6 million lives (directly or indirectly connected to water quality issues and their related diseases) could be saved each year by providing more access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene to the world’s poorest regions.

Access to water is not only a Third World or emerging nations’ issue -- droughts in the U.S. Southeast and quantity issues in the Southwest and in California have brought conservation, control and distribution issues to the public’s attention in the past few years.  Water in the United States is a key factor to residential and commercial development, economic stability and job growth – all issues which effect local and regional communities’ economic well-being. Water in the USA is critical to the health of agriculture and related industries.  Corporations are in the spotlight for their use of water – advocates and third party researchers are developing “water footprints” (similar to “carbon footprints”) for leading companies, such as Coca Cola, Nestle and other water-intensive industries and sectors.

The Editors of Accountability Central work to bring the many facets of Water issues -- especially quality and quantity -- into focus with news, commentary and research.  Education on the issues, public discussion and rising concern can help to bring about real and positive changes and sensible and fair solutions to the problems at hand.  Perhaps this public forum can help in some small way.  The Institute maintains a robust focus on water issues and the key players in its subscription Web-accessed knowledge management platform Sustainability HQ – click here for more information:www.sustainabilityhq.com.






Latest on Water - Quality & Quantity

April 14, 2015 The mirage of public-private water

Open Democracy - If the îWorld Water Forumî is serious about its goal to implement solutions to the global water crisis, it should realise that the promise of private investment in water services was always a mirage....

April 13, 2015 Pre-Inca canals may solve Lima's water crisis

Source: New Scientist

A revival of pre-Inca water technology in the mountains of the Andes is set to keep taps flowing in the drought-affected Peruvian capital, Lima. Grouting ancient canals, it turns out, is a far cheaper solution to the city's water...

April 13, 2015 California Farmers Gulp Most Of State's Water, But Say They've Cut Back

OPB - "Farmers in the San Joaquin Valley have been the only ones to have their water actually completely cut off," said Dave Puglia, senior vice president with the Western Growers Association. Puglia likens the zero percent water...

April 13, 2015 California's New Era of Heat Destroys All Previous Records

Source: Bloomberg

The California heat of the past 12 months is like nothing ever seen in records going back to 1895. The 12 months before that were similarly without precedent. And the 12 months before that? A freakishly hot year, too.

April 13, 2015 Why Everyone in the U.S. Will Feel California's Drought - video

Source: Bloomberg

As the drought in California enters a fourth year, consumers across the country could pay the price at the supermarket. Bloomberg's Tom Randall explains.

April 13, 2015 UAE urges nations to unite and act to ensure global water security

Emirates247 - In his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 7th îWorld Water Forumî in the Republic of Korea, Al Jaber urged delegates to align efforts and harness their collective knowledge to devise...

April 10, 2015 GE Reduces Freshwater Use 45%

Environmental Leader - As part of its ecomagination goal to reduce our freshwater consumption, GEâs Global Research Center reviewed the 70 sites that used more than 15 million gallons of freshwater in 2013 against the...

April 10, 2015 How the Drought Is Changing California Forever

Source: Bloomberg

In San Francisco, California’s most densely populated big city, with small lawns and coastal fog, residents consumed 44 gallons per day in February, while residents of Palm Springs and neighboring desert communities used more...

April 9, 2015 Japan considers evaporation, storage of tritium-laced Fukushima water

Source: Reuters

Japan is considering evaporating or storing underground tritium-laced water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant as an alternative to releasing it into the ocean, Tokyo Electric Power Co's chief decommissioning officer told...

April 9, 2015 China’s environment ministry blocks hydro project

Source: Reuters

China’s environment ministry has refused approval for a hydropower dam on an ecologically vulnerable river already damaged by construction, a rare setback for the country’s extensive dam-building program

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